How can I deal when my mother dies, when she's been so close to me for so long?

Follow
Share

Hello, I just joined this group. Not sure I have enmeshed relationship with my mother, but probably. We've been close ever since my Dad died when I was 18 (she was 48), kind of became best friends. I'm terrified of her dying. I'm unmarried and no kids, in my 40s, with no other family close by. Now that I live close to her, I'm hoping I can start a family, and hopefully before she dies so that she can experience a loving family, grandkids, and not worry that she's leaving me alone. But I don't seem to be having any success. Fears of past breakups and disappointments keep me sidelined and just feeling too old to matter to anyone out there looking for the same thing. I'm stuck and scared and feel the clock ticking. So much self-imposed pressure is taking a toll on me. I hope I can see my way through this.

Find Care & Housing
10

Answers

Show:
You know what. It's not always bad to love someone so much that you feel you won't survive without them. It's wonderful to know you can love like that. This enmeshed thing that people talk about sounds like one of those stupid catch phrases that psychologists jam down people's throats.

Believe it or not but there was actually a time when people made it through life without being told they are depressed, they have generalized anxiety disorder, they are bipolar, they are enmeshed, blah, blah blah. There are so many pills for so many ailments. I think the pharmaceutical industry just keeps making up more disorders so that they can sell pills to doctors who then prescribe them to people who most of the time could probably live without them.

I loved my Mom unselfishly and dreaded her dying cause I loved her so much. I didn't think I'd survive but here I am three years after her death and I am alive and I am surviving. It has been very hard at times but you just do it cause what is the alternative?

Don't look ahead so far. Concentrate on today. Do the best you can today. When tomorrow comes, do the same. Stop the negative self-talk. It's non-productive. It's like a garden that just gets bigger the more you water it. Think of it that way. Don't water the negative self-talk garden. If you stop watering it, it will stop growing.

You can get through anything if you believe in yourself. Start believing in yourself. You will miss your Mother when she goes but you will survive.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Gershun
Report

Blue, I understand how you feel about your mother, My father died when I was 6. I was my mother's only child and we were very, very enmeshed, for sure. I feared losing her every day of my entire life. When she became very ill a year or so ago, I was in a constant state of misery, honestly. I was entirely convinced that when she died, I would die too.

Well, guess what? She died on May 25th and somehow I survived and am doing OK. I realize I was grieving during her repeated bouts of illness. I cried every day and lived with a constant knot in my stomach. She had no quality of life left whatsoever at that point and it was agony to watch. When she finally died in May, I felt a huge sense of relief - for both of us. I still can't believe how at peace I am with her death, but it was much, much worse to visit her a few times a week and see her in diapers, with bed sores, unable to get out of bed on her own or enjoy food. That was so hard. Anyway, I'm going off on my own tangent here, but I just want to say that if I could survive my mother's death, I think you will be able to as well.

As for your other very real concerns about creating a family of your own, I'm not quite sure how to advise you. I have children myself, but am divorced, so I understand the need to want a new family/life - but obviously it's different. Don't put added pressure on yourself to create a family for your mother's sake, though - that's way too much of a burden.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to xinabess
Report

Love yourself and everything else will fall into place.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to shad250
Report

Blueraincoat,
The things I'm writing are difficult thoughts to say "sweetly". I'm definitely not trying to hurt you in any way. Please take this post as one way to look at your situation. I'm not trying to say you're bad or wrong.

You wrote;
"Not sure I have (an) enmeshed relationship with my mother, but probably."

This is the meaning of enmesh-
cause to become entangled in something. ("Whales enmeshed in drift nets.")

Synonyms: embroil, entangle, ensnare, snare, trap, entrap, ensnarl, involve, catch up, mix up, bog down, mire.
("Before he knew it, Reid was enmeshed in the gang mentality")

Involve (someone) in a difficult situation from which it is hard to escape. ("He is enmeshed in an adulterous affair.")

So you're pretty involved with your mom and can't break free (not that you'd want to.) It sounds like you are "dependent" on her for whatever reason and don't feel like you would be able to "make it" without her. I'm afraid that's not a good place to be.

I would recommend you talking about your feeling with a therapist. The ones I've used (for other problems) have been invaluable in helping me sort out my jumbled feelings and thoughts. I don't think you'll be able to "back off" a little or develop other aspects of your life without help. There's nothing shameful to see someone. We go to doctors for our body problems, we go to therapists for our emotional difficulties.

I envy you because you are such good friends with your mother. My mom was a narcissist and alcoholic so I never had that. But it sounds like your mom is your main friend. You need to expand your friend pool and not be so dependent just on your mom. You need to find YOUR strength (it's in there, just "hiding") You need to realize you can function independently from mom.

You can not and should not alter your life in any manner FOR HER. You must live your life for you. Do NOT be in a rush to meet a guy, hurry and get married then frantically get pregnant just so SHE can experience that. You would be doing that for all the wrong reasons.
What if you don't take enough time to pick the "right" man? And, I hate to bring this up, but the incidence of Downs Syndrome goes way up when the woman is over 35 years old. Have you talked to your Gyn doc about possibly having a baby at your age?

"Now that I live close to her, I'm hoping I can start a family, and hopefully before she dies so that she can experience a loving family, grandkids, and not worry that she's leaving me alone."
Is SHE paranoid about you being alone? Why?
Why do you feel the need to do all this NOW? Just because now you live near her? Do you feel the clock is running out?

I would stop trying to do what you think your mother would like and live life for yourself. Let a relationship with a man HAPPEN, you can't force it anyway. You should know your husband-to-be for at least a year before you marry. Then, you should have a couple of years to "settle in" to your marriage before you start a family (by this time, adoption would be the best choice.)

"I'm terrified of her dying."
Is your mom well or is her health going downhill and that's the reason for your desperation? Unfortunately, we all need to let go of our parents at one time or another. I'm taking it day by day, as my mom is 95-1/2 and end stage Alzheimer's. I could get "the call" any day. But I'm ready for her to pass so she doesn't have to keep living this awful life of a demented mind with a worn out body.

"So much self-imposed pressure is taking a toll on me."
You are absolutely right. This is all self imposed. You need professional help to stop putting these demands on yourself. At this point, a therapist is needed as your "guide" to straightening out your priorities.

Have you talked to your mother about all this? What does she say? Is she putting pressure on you to "get all this done"? I'll bet not. I believe she's concerned that you are so dependent on her for friendship that your world will come crashing down when she dies. That's why you need to branch out in other areas of your life. Unfortunately, no one escapes death. It would be a good idea to get help BEFORE she is near the time to pass on.

Good luck in the future dear.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to SueC1957
Report

I understand to a point, I didn't want my Mom to die either, I Loved her so much and did not know how life would be without her shining spirit, but Cancer happened, and there you have it.

It's important to remember that life has seasons, and there is nothing we can do to stop them, so the best and most positive thing that you can do, is to live your life to the absolute fullest, and show your Mom that you will be OK, and not paralyzed by fear.

You are your Mom's Greatest achievement, and she wants you to be Happy!

As Amihoy mentioned, seek out enjoyment in the things that you find interesting, and hopefully one day, you might meet someone with similar interests.

There is also internet dating sites, but I've been married 30 plus years, so have no experience with these, but I know people who have! In the meantime, go out with friends, and while your Mom might be your Best friend, it isn't healthy for her to be your Only one.

Get out there and live your life, and try not to worry so much about the future.
Life has a way of working itself out. Now If its a Real Fear, a Real Anxiety, you should speak to a Professional about it, as you don't want to let things that you cannot control, rule your life.

In regards to "dealing" when your Mom dies, you just do. It takes time, you go through a natural grieving process which is different for everybody, but eventually you begin remembering all the happy times, and eventually forget the difficult times. If you are anything like me, I am very spiritual, and believe that our parents (in death), are never far from us, so when I'm missing my folks so badly that I want to cry, I go to my happy place, my backyard and think about them, and surly is the nose on my face, I usually get a little sign that they really nearby, looking out for me.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to staceyb
Report

Momma always said dyin' was a part of life.
I sure wish it wasn't.
- the movie Forrest Gump

im sorry you lost your dad at 18. Its great that you are able to be best friends with your mom. I consider my mom one of my best friends too. I didn't consider her as a best friend until I was older. I know my mom wont be here too much longer. But im happy with how our relationship used to be. lots of good memories. I hope you can find some happiness in other areas of life.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to wally003
Report

Hi Blue, welcome to the forum!
Maybe you could share a bit more about Mom and yourself, so we know what you're dealing with.

How old is she, 78ish? What makes you dwell on her death? How's her health? 
There's not much info on your profile to go on. 
What makes you think you're too old to be loved? What do you do all day, do you work? If so, at what? Are you around people daily? Why don't you have friends? Are you more comfortable alone?

I'm not being nosy, it would just help to know your situation.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Pepsee
Report

Ahmijoy is right on. I'm in almost your same situation. Single, 40s, living with mom and extremely close. Have the same fears you have. I wasted so much precious time dating guys who I didn't even really like. I have given up on dating now to focus on quality time with mom while she's here. I try to focus on the here and now and trust God for the future.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to kbuser
Report

Blue, you are being hard on yourself thinking you are too old to matter to anyone as a love interest and to start a family. It sounds like you know you have let your relationship with your mom take priority in your life. In the meantime, seek out a therapist and talk out your fear of your mother dying and your fear of seeking lasting love. It will be an important step to help you learn to give healthy love and to recognize if you are being given healthy love so that you find a relationship that will last. It can happen for you! Ahmijoy has some good advice above. I will share a little trick that is helping me to reconcile that my mother will be gone from my life and the anxiety I have about that. I have taken to wearing a years of service pin she earned from an employer. I’ve placed it on a necklace I wear daily to honor her while she is living. When she is gone, I will still have that pin to look at.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to dinlawduzit
Report

I’m not sure I understand what you mean by “an enmeshed relationship” but I think if you did have one with your mom, you’d know it.

You seem to be living your life afraid of the future and torturing yourself with “what-ifs” and past failures. You want to hurry and find a partner and have or adopt kids for your mom’s enjoyment. Is Mom terminal? If not, letting fears of her death consume you is a heck of a way to exist.

Don’t try to prearrange your future. If you date people with the express purpose of using them to create a family to please your mom, you’re sunk before you start. As we said in my day, “chill out!” You are Mom’s family. You. You are her child and her family. She wants to spend time with you, she wants to enjoy what you enjoy. She wants to laugh at what you find funny. Take her shopping, have lunch, sit on her sofa, eat popcorn and watch a sappy movie.

For yourself, join clubs and groups according to your interests. If you meet someone, fine. Don’t make that your life’s goal.

If you devote all your time to your mission to create a family, you’ll let all the fun times and bonding times with Mom pass you by.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Ahmijoy
Report

Related
Questions